At the age of 16, Stan blacked out and collapsed while playing basketball. Doctors ran tests on his heart and discovered that he had arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia, or ARVD. The condition, which affects one in every 1,000 to 1,250 people, causes irregular heart rhythms and is a common cause of sudden death among young athletes.
ARVD is hereditary, and after his diagnosis, many of Stan’s family members chose to be tested. Stan’s younger brother, Domonique, was also diagnosed with ARVD. Both brothers were fitted with defibrillators to regulate their heart rhythms, but they also had to limit their activities.
“It changed a lot for me,” said Stan. “I couldn’t play sports anymore and I really couldn’t do anything. They just didn’t know how strong my heart was.”
Stan and Domonique’s defibrillators kept them going for several years, but eventually, Stan’s ARVD had progressed to biventricular dysplasia, meaning his condition was now affecting both sides of his heart.
“He was dying of shock. His heart was not pumping enough blood around to maintain the health of all his vital organs, and without urgent intervention, he would not have survived,” said his cardiac surgeon, Dr. Jonathan Haft.